Thursday, 3 May 2012

Waking Dreams - Part II

The following day i am standing in Madrid airport waiting for a soul mate to enter my life again. Her name is Jen and like me, she walks her own way on the quest for self discovery and connecting with the world.

Being almost 2 years since we first collided, you'd expect me to feel slightly nervous. Instead, it's excitement and all I'm thinking about is how we can make it to Siurana by dusk. I've been waiting for this to fall into place for quite a long time.

At last she arrives and we finally have human contact outside the realm of cyberspace. The bus that will take us north east to Reus (Catalonia region), doesn't leave for another two and a half hours but this is irrelevant as we play catch up and swap stories. When it's time to move, we grab the tickets and hop on the bus with seconds to spare. From this moment, all the way to Reus, i was frequently reminded of how useful it is to actually speak the local language, instead of looking foolishly at your translator asking 'What did they say?' (Thanks Jen!)

We reach town and discover that some of Jen's friends are in Siurana too. What a coincidence! We then go to the supermarket to stock up on supplies and ride the taxi wave all the way to Cornudella de Montsant (There's only one bus..which we missed). During the journey, the sun sets as we twist and turn north west into the Monsant range of the Prades Mountains and are serenaded by the fabulously cliche tones of the spaghetti western soundtrack all the way until we reach town.

 Welcome to Catalonia!

Greeted by Ben and Gemma we switch vehicles and cram all the bags into their hire car and zoom up even steeper roads with incessant hairpins all the way to the camp site situated near the town of Siurana itself and on top of some of the best quality sport cliffs in Europe. They help us settle in with a meal and we get a first glimpse of the guide book. Hundreds of quality sport routes in such close proximity mean the salivating process starts again even though the food has long gone. They give us a spare mattress and say goodnight. We drag it to our tent tired but content to have made it. I snuggle down into the sleeping bag wishing i could blink and it was light already.

The stunning walls of Siurana. The same is below and behind us.
 (The road up can be seen on the right)

The following five days were some of the best days clipping bolts i have ever had! The immaculate limestone with bomber crimps and perfect friction enhanced performance so much it feels like this place can make you climb to your full potential. Climbing such a volume of routes day after day is excellent for fitness and endurance. If you wish to be a good all round climber you will begin to see that training in all the different disciplines complement each other. In this case, i felt stronger than ever from bouldering, mentally stronger from last years trad climbs and the ice climbing adventures in Canada. I could go for it and take whippers on shiny bolts, no problem!
Going for the near onsight of 'Cojon Prieto' 7a

Taking the Whip!

I love the climbing community because it's a global family. We all have our own reason to pursue this life style or sport (depending on how you look at it) but each and every person understands what it is like to conquer their own demons and go for it. Whether it's a nod in the kitchen, someones calming notes on a ukulele, sitting around a camp fire or a shout of encouragement from no one in particular at the crag, you understand that each and every person is on a journey psychically, mentally and spiritually on the rock and on the road. We understand each other just a little bit better. For me, when i walk into a camp ground and sit round a fire swapping stories i know i am home, wherever that may be.

Taking in the view with Gemma & Ben

The last day dawns and i know that the joy of re connecting with Jen and climbing in a stunning part of the world will be over soon..for now. We decide to have a little multi pitch outing to put a cherry on the cake and it doesn't disappoint. The route is fun, but it's more that we have the whole cliff under the village of Siurana to ourselves with a stunning view. We soak in the sun and stare at the vista with nothing but the wind for sound. A perfect way to end the climbing. We walk out dragging our feet in the twilight, stopping periodically to take in the moment again and again.

Pitch 2 of 3 on our multi pitch

Last Day

The following day we all jump in the car bound for Barcelona airport. (Another great coincidence). After a nice afternoon on the beach, we say goodbye to Ben & Gemma and head into town for one last night. It's late when we check into our hostel and we know that i won't get to see the city very much. Might as well go to the beach with some wine. 

With the sand between our toes, the sound of the waves and the taste of wine on our tongues we stare at the horizon silhouetted against the moon lit sky. It gets me thinking. The last 6 days had been great, for so many reasons. The place and the climbing yes, but it was special to be with Jen again. When two people, born and raised on opposite sides of the globe, grow to have similar values, integrity for passions and love, it is something extraordinary. It is deeper than merely 'getting on'. It's soulful. But even after 6 days it was obvious that the two of us have got our own lives to live. Our own paths to tread. Even though i know in my heart that if we could find a way to stay together just a little longer, it wouldn't be right unless our paths synchronised naturally.

Who knows when i will see her again. I just enjoy the time i got with a genuine ray of light and hope that our paths merge again in the future. The day that happens will be a good day.

We start back into town and take one last look at the moon lit horizon, with empty bottle in hand.
We will live on.

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